Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. - Matthew 5:8
Each of the Beatitudes has two components: the condition called blessed (or “happy”), describing the heart state of citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven; and the resulting condition of life in the Kingdom. As we have seen in our study of the other Beatitudes, either one of these phrases might not mean what we assume on first reading. For one thing, we are sinful by nature and not in tune with God’s way of thinking or viewing the world. For example, the first Beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” might refer to someone who has a strong sense of being economically disadvantaged, or it might describe someone with low self-esteem. Rightly understood, though, it refers to someone who is aware of their sin and guilt before God and knows they have no spiritual currency with which to settle their debt. Anyone who feels this way sees the true meaning.
“Blessed are the pure in heart” is another one of the Beatitudes that is frequently misread. Quite often we read it as if it refers to those whose hearts are clean, without spot or stain of sin. Such a person will indeed see God, and all those who believe in Christ are washed clean and made pure by His blood. But if we look elsewhere in Scripture, we see there is another interpretation. Psalm 24:4 says, “The one who has clean hands and a pure heart . . . does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.” Read this way, someone who is “pure in heart” has a heart entirely devoted to God, a heart that is not mixed or divided or combined with anything else. Food that is “100% pure” does not have any additives or fillers. Hearts that are 100% pure are set on God and nothing else—no private agendas, not secret idols.
A heart that is set on God and God alone will see Him, both in this life and in the life to come. Only those who wholly put their trust in God and not idols or false gods will see Him face-to-face in glory when this life is over. But the Lord God Almighty truly is the king and head over all even now. He has created and sustains everything. In our modern, secular society we frequently make gods of science or progress, the economy or political process by explaining everything in their terms and making them our ultimate hope. And God does use them as His secondary agents. But when we reserve the ultimate place of explanation and authority and hope for God and God alone, we see Him and His work and His grace and goodness in all of life. And as we see our spiritual poverty, mourn our sin, and are made meek by awareness of our standing before God, we see that God alone truly is our only help and hope, and we cast off all other things. We hunger and thirst for a righteousness only He can provide. We show mercy as only He has shown mercy to us. And we purify our hearts of any rivals, so that we might see Him.